The YWCA of Asheville announced today an exciting new initiative coming to Western North Carolina. The “Stand Against Racism” is the program of the YWCA aimed at raising awareness that racism still exists in our communities and that it can no longer be ignored or tolerated. The 2010 Stand Against Racism is planned for April 30, 2010.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization located in Montgomery, Alabama, the number of hate groups operating in the United States has grown by 54% in the last eight years (there are close to 1,000 active hate groups in the United States today). SPLC’s Intelligence Report sites “immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of President Obama” as the factors that have fueled the increase. Hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people. They promote hate, hostility, and sometimes violence.
In response, the YWCA created the Stand Against Racism in order to combat the spread of hate and intolerance, and to honor and celebrate the richness of diversity. In 2009, the program attracted over 300 partnering organizations that became participating sites by hosting local “stands”. Over 30,000 individuals took a stand against racism by attending one of the participating sites and sending a strong message. They committed themselves to a lifetime of promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people in their community and in the world. This powerful, unified, effort helped raised awareness that racism hurts everyone. Participants ranged from school-age children to elected officials, executives of large corporations, church leaders, and others. Racism affects everyone.
“Today, the YWCA of Asheville is calling on all local organizations, corporations, churches and other houses of worship, government agencies and individuals in Western North Carolina to join with us by becoming a participating site of the 2010 Stand Against Racism,” announced Holly Jones, YWCA Executive Director. “Any group of any size that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us.”
Any organization or group of individuals can become a participating site by signing up through the Stand Against Racism Web site: http://www.StandAgainstRacism.org. A participating site will host their own Stand Against Racism event at their own location (which can be private or open to the public). Participation in the Stand Against Racism is free and becoming a participating site is very simple. The YWCA will provide all the necessary materials and documents, including a How to Run the Event Template that can be customized to meet the organization’s needs. Each organization’s “stand” will range from gatherings at work to larger scale stands like rallies and marches. No matter what shape the “stand” takes in each participating site, all activities will echo the theme “racism is unacceptable.” Organizations are urged to visit http://www.StandAgainstRacism.org to join this important movement.
The persistence and pervasiveness of racism divides our community and keeps individuals from achieving success in education, economics, employment, and quality of life. Strength comes from numbers. This year the Stand Against Racism will be a collaboration of 65 YWCA Associations throughout the United States. For more details, please visit www.StandAgainstRacism.org. For local information, please contact us at www.ywcaofasheville.org.
The YWCA of Asheville seeks to bring people together across communities for one common goal—the elimination of racism—and we ask you to please make your voice heard by joining the Stand Against Racism.
Photo of Holly Jones by Sandra Stambaugh